The Maroon

Opinion: Awakening is for everyone

Photo credit: Sean McCreavy

Photo credit: Sean McCreavy

Photo credit: Sean McCreavy

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By Carrie Fenton, English Senior and Sean McCreavy, Music Industry Senior

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When we first get off the bus at Awakening, it feels like coming home. Far from our actual houses, Awakening is held at Fontainebleau State Park, a roughly 45 minute drive away from where either of us live. Awakening itself is not a place, but a weekend retreat held once a semester, open to all students at Loyola.

When we arrive, we are immediately surrounded by people, all laughing, talking, and greeting one another with smiles on their faces. In nature, removed from the rush of classes, extracurriculars, jobs, and other commitments, we’re able to encounter each other with a fullness that is difficult to achieve in the life of a busy college student. All other obligations fall away, and for one weekend we get the chance to experience being in community with our fellow students with absolutely no distractions between us.

We love it because Awakening is open to everyone at Loyola, and is not restricted to Catholics or Christians. Though the retreat is based on Jesuit spirituality, and features a Catholic Mass, Awakening provides a place of belonging that respects and engages the identities of all its members, especially with regard to their personal spiritual journeys. Beyond the weekend of the retreat, Awakening is a community. We started our time together on our first retreat, but with Awakening we created memories and friendships that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

So why Awakening? Why do we give up a weekend out of our busy semester to go on a faith-based retreat in the woods with a bunch of strangers? There are many reasons, and anyone who comes on Awakening will have a different answer for you. Everyone else in the Awakening community could’ve written this a hundred different ways. Their opinion reflects their identity, their experience, and their perspective of community. And that’s “Why Awakening?” for us: because it creates and sustains a community of individuals, a blending of ideas and experiences, perspectives and beliefs, that is wholly unique to Awakening. It is a place where everyone is welcome, all are respected, and you truly can find a home away from home.

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Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola
Opinion: Awakening is for everyone